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Social media is the way forward for city agency

PUBLISHED: 11:32 02 March 2011 | UPDATED: 12:22 02 March 2011

The Shorthose Russell team who have had a good year with 20pc increase in sales led by directors(l to r) Mark Harvey, Pete Joyner and Steve Rowland.

The Shorthose Russell team who have had a good year with 20pc increase in sales led by directors(l to r) Mark Harvey, Pete Joyner and Steve Rowland.

Archant © 2011; 01603 772434

Social media has helped a Norwich agency "come of age" in a year
which saw it boost sales by 20pc to £1.2m.

Shorthose Russell, which begun life on Hurricane Way in Norwich, has invested in new offices at Meridian Business Park, grown its work with existing clients and won contracts with major new clients in the past year.

The firm, which provides communications, design, PR and digital services, has also broadened its offering to a full service agency and grew its staffing from 12 to 16.

Managing director Mark Harvey said having a broad spread of clients, from the National Trust to Bernard Matthews, has helped the business avoid feeling the pain of the downturn as much as it might have done if it had a heavy focus on public-sector work.

It has also won new work with US firm Wyndham Exchange and Rentals, which bought its existing client Lowestoft Hoseasons last year, and Vestey Group, a £500m turnover international food group.

However, Mr Harvey said growing areas of business had been PR, digital work and, increasingly, social
media, which had resulted in the firm taking on a dedicated social media manager.

“We were cautious going into the year but ambitious as well,” he said. “We made a major investment in the new offices, which raised our profile and has been really good for our staff. And we’re now offering a full service mix.

“Going forward it is digital, digital, digital.

“Social media is a big component of that. Brands are going to be a conversation – now you have got the tools to do that through social media you can. But there is still space for good design.

“We want to grow by another two to four staff, tops, but still grow our client base, some retained work and some project based.”

Shorthose Russell was founded as a joint venture with then Norwich-based events firm TRO by Ian Russell, who now runs Wroxham Barns, and Tony Shorthose.

It was to provide the design and art work for TRO.

From early on clients included the National Trust and eventually the business split off on its own and became a full service firm.

Mr Harvey, previously in marketing at Norwich Union, joined the firm in 2002 and became a majority owner of the business in 2007.

n elaine.maslin@archant.co.uk

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